Genre: Role-playing | Players: 1 | Developer: Bethesda
I was not initially very enthusiastic about this game when it first came out. I had never heard of the series and I had watched others play and it seemed less than enthralling. Then I gave it a shot one day because I had already sat down and was too lazy to get up again and change the disc. This spurred me to buy a copy off of Steam.
The action can come in a 1st or 3rd person view as you journey across Tamriel on a great adventure. Or just dick around killing wildlife and completing sidequests. It's your choice.
The environment is huge and full of towns, characters and caves to explore. It can almost be too huge causing over-reliance on the fast travel feature which undermines the adventure feeling a bit.
The choices are also vast. Everything from your stats, leveling and what you wear or use. I spent countless hours just in the character creation messing with all the options for race, hairstyle and facial features. I set out to make the ugliest bastard I could. He ended up looking like Doc Brown. Still satisfying.
This is also where things can get complicated. While there are many choices for stats, there are really only a few ways they can be implemented if you don't want to be screwed by the weird, disjointed leveling system. I recommend choosing a path and sticking with it. Mixing and matching classes will only lead to wasted skills and underpowered characters.
Spells can be bought or you can make your own with some equipment and come in all types. They can be straight up destruction with fire, lightning, etc or They can be used to augment yourself, your weapons, armor or those of your enemy. Melee Combat is just as varied with a wide range of weapons and armor. All this makes the game very customizable and replayable. All this can be used on enemies ranging from wildlife like wolves and bears to bandits and wraiths. Or you can spend your time talking to citizens and taking quests that range from missing persons to dungeon crawling and assassination.
Overall: Great variety, imperfect execution.
The controls can be daunting since the games range of choices necessitates a large menu system to handle all your options. It may require some time to learn. Learning and taking advantage of hotkeys will let you switch and use items on the fly and shorten the amount of time you will spend in menus.
Melee combat I found was better in 3rd person view since it gave a better view of the fight. Better for retreating and such.
Magic and arrows however pretty much require 1st person if you want to actually hit anything. Another reason not to mix classes. Advantage goes to the PC version for this.
Overall the controls could have been a little smoother and more precise. Small things like ending conversation or picking up small items(or dropping items) should be quicker and less of a hassle. Advantage goes to the console version here as some of these tasks can be done with the push of a button.
They may be a bit dated now, but they can still impress with grand vistas and crisp vibrant colors that can really make the landscape look great. This is of course only if you have a system that can handle it which can be a problem as it can still cause computers to chug even after so many years. If you have to compromise too much, it will make everything bland. I only experienced slowdown in one place which made me turn off grass causing everything to be very flat and boring.
Sound effects are clear though they can be irksome sometimes. I don't need to hear the clink of my armor all the time especially since it sounds like the same clink over and over.
This lack of variety is also a problem with the voice acting. What is there is generally OK, but with only a handful of voice actors you find yourself speaking to the same 3 people over and over. Especially takes you out of the experience when a person switches between voices mid-conversation. I can read faster than they talk so turning off subtitles made me actually listen which made the game more engaging.
The music is the stand-out here as it is both epic and mood-enhancing though probably not something you would listen to by itself.
You are inadvertently released from prison as the Emperor flees assassination. You are tasked with finding the forces behind these events along with other major quest-lines.
The game is widely available on either the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC along with expansions and downloadable content. The Game of the Year Edition contains all of these for only a few bucks more.
3 Looted Bandit Corpses out of 5